Maria Verelst, Called Elizabeth Townshend (1703–1785)

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
Called Elizabeth Townshend (1703–1785)
The King's Bedroom
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 101 cm, Overall width: 75.5 cm
Maria Verelst (1680-1744)
Catalogue Number


This painting has previously been attributed to Charles Jervas but it can be identified as by the same hand as the portrait of Elizabeth, Lady Townshend by Maria Verelst (RN75) and was probably painted around the same time, in the early 1710s. There are relatively few portraits definitely attributed to Verelst but her identified portraits are predominantly of women, half-length, seated against a woodland or architectural backdrop and use a limited repertoire of poses. This portrait is typical of Verelst in all details except the book. Verelst was trained by her uncle Simon Pietersz Verelst, a renowned flower painter, and her sitters are more typically shown holding a spray of flowers. 

The present portrait has been described as the Honourable Elizabeth Townshend (see RN6) but a comparison between the present subject and RN6, which is also by Maria Verelst, indicates that they are different sitters. The unknown lady in RN86 is likely to be a close friend or family member but cannot be positively identified.

by Amy Lim

Related items from Raynham Hall's Catalogue and Raynham Hall's Document

  • Castle Howard Raynham Hall

    Thomas Townshend, afterwards 1st Viscount Sydney (1733–1800)

    attributed to George Knapton, 1750

  • Castle Howard Raynham Hall

    ? Audrey, Lady Townshend (1732–1781)

    circle of George Knapton, ? c. 1746

  • Castle Howard Raynham Hall

    Transcription of Charles Jarvis (Jervas) memorandum of 1733, Raynham Hall Archives 353